Jonathan Emerson Kohler, M.D., M.A. for UC Davis Health

Jonathan Emerson Kohler, M.D., M.A.

Medical Director, Pediatric Trauma

Associate Professor, Department of Surgery

To see if Jonathan Emerson Kohler is accepting new patients, or for assistance finding a UC Davis doctor, please call 800-2-UCDAVIS (800-282-3284).



Pediatric Surgery

Surgery - Pediatric



Locations and Contact

UC Davis Children's Hospital

UC Davis Children's Hospital
2315 Stockton Blvd.
Sacramento, CA 95817

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Additional Numbers

Clinic Phone


Clinic Phone


Clinic Fax


Physician Referrals

800-4-UCDAVIS (800-482-3284)

Philosophy of Care

My philosophy of care is that every patient deserves the care that best fits them and their family. I believe that the parents of ill and injured children are vital to the care process and to deciding what is right for their child, and always strive to make shared decisions with parents and patients. There is no such thing as minor surgery for a child or their family, and my goal is to help families through what is always a challenging time by providing support, guidance, honesty, and reassurance that their child is in great hands at UC Davis.

Clinical Interests

Dr. Kohler is a pediatric general surgeon who cares for children from birth to adulthood with a wide variety of surgical problems using advanced techniques such as minimally invasive surgery. He has a particular interest in pediatric trauma, including ways to reduce the number of injured children who need operations, minimizing opioid use after injuries and operations, and preventing injuries through education and advocacy. He particularly enjoys working with children with special needs, including autism.

Research/Academic Interests

Dr. Kohler's research centers on communications between physicians, parents, and patients. He is particularly interested in decision making and decision supports for rural physicians managing common pediatric surgical problems, such as umbilical hernias, opioid prescribing, and minor injuries. He has developed a number of connected learning solutions using telementoring, videos, and interactive teaching tools to improve communications between primary care providers and specialists, and between doctors and patients.


Fetal Care and Treatment Center
Pediatric Surgery

Center/Program Affiliation

UC Davis Children's Hospital
Trauma Program

Undergraduate School

Sc.B., Brown University, Providence RI 1999

Medical School

M.D., University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine, Chicago IL 2005

Other School

M.A., Health Communications, Emerson College, Boston MA 2009


General Surgery, University of Washington, Seattle WA 2005-2006


General Surgery, University of Washington, Seattle WA 2006-2013


Pediatric Surgery, University of Chicago, Chicago IL 2013-2015

Junior Faculty Scholar, Bucksbaum Institute for Clinical Excellence, University of Chicago, 2013, 2014, 2015

American College of Surgeons Resident Research Fellowship, 2007, 2008, 2009

Schilling Resident Research Fellow Prize, Department of Surgery, University of Washington, 2007

Graduation with Honors, University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine, 2005

Pritzker Leadership Award, for outstanding extracurricular accomplishments. University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine, 2005

Association for Academic Surgery Student Research Award. University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine, 2005

Arnold P. Gold Foundation Humanism in Medicine Essay Contest, Second Prize for “Burn In”, 2005

Chicago Center of Excellence for Health Promotion Economics (CCEHPE) Pre-Doctoral Fellowship, for research in the cost effectiveness of video in health promotion, 2005

Alpha Omega Alpha, 2004

Calvin Fentress Research Award, awarded to ten University of Chicago senior medical students for outstanding research, 2004

American Gastroenterological Association Student Research Fellowship - “Isolation of factors produced by stressed intestinal epithelia which are capable of inducing virulence in Pseudomonas aeruginosa”, 2004

Fraser JD, Deans KJ, Fallat ME, Helmrath MA, Kabre R, Leys CM, Burns RC, Corkum K, Dillon PA, Downard CD, Gadepalli SK, Grabowski JE, Hernandez E, Hirschl RB, Johnson KN, Kohler JE, Landman MP, Landisch RM, Lawrence AE, Mak GZ, Minneci PC, Rymeski B, Sato TT, Scannell M, Slater BJ, Wilkinson KH, Wright TN, St Peter SD; Midwest Pediatric Surgery Consortium. Sutureless vs sutured abdominal wall closure for gastroschisis: Operative characteristics and early outcomes from the Midwest Pediatric Surgery Consortium. J Pediatr Surg. 2020 Nov;55(11):2284-2288. doi:10.1016/j.jpedsurg.2020.02.017. Epub 2020 Feb 20. PMID:32151403.

Bence CM, Rymeski B, Gadepalli S, Sato TT, Minneci PC, Downard C, Hirschl RB, Amin RA, Burns RC, Cherney-Stafford L, Courtney CM, Deans KJ, Fallat ME, Fraser JD, Grabowski JE, Helmrath MA, Kabre RD, Kohler JE, Landman MP, Lawrence AE, Leys CM, Mak GZ, Port E, Saito JM, Silverberg J, Slidell MB, St Peter SD, Troutt M, Walker S, Wright T, Lal DR; Midwest Pediatric Surgery Consortium. Clinical outcomes following implementation of a management bundle for esophageal atresia with distal tracheoesophageal fistula. J Pediatr Surg. 2020 Oct 6:S0022-3468(20)30698-9. doi:10.1016/j.jpedsurg.2020.09.049. Online ahead of print. PMID:33131776.

Cathers AD, Forsythe J, Sippel N, Williamson C, Kohler JE, Brazelton TB, Steuerwald MT. Tranexamic Acid Use in Pediatric Hemorrhagic Shock From Farm-Related Trauma: A Case Report. Air Med J. 2020 Sep-Oct;39(5):414-416. doi:10.1016/j.amj.2020.06.008. Epub 2020 Jul 10. PMID:33012482.

Minneci PC, Hade EM, Lawrence AE, Sebastião YV, Saito JM, Mak GZ, Fox C, Hirschl RB, Gadepalli S, Helmrath MA, Kohler JE, Leys CM, Sato TT, Lal DR, Landman MP, Kabre R, Fallat ME, Cooper JN, Deans KJ; Midwest Pediatric Surgery Consortium. Association of Nonoperative Management Using Antibiotic Therapy vs Laparoscopic Appendectomy With Treatment Success and Disability Days in Children With Uncomplicated Appendicitis. JAMA. 2020 Aug 11;324(6):581-593. doi:10.1001/jama.2020.10888. PMID:32730561.

Kohler JE, Cartmill RS, Kalbfell E, Schumacher J. Continued Prescribing of Periprocedural Codeine and Tramadol to Children after a Black Box Warning. J Surg Res. 2020 Jul 18;256:131-135. doi:10.1016/j.jss.2020.06.023. Online ahead of print. PMID:32693330.

Kohler JE, Cartmill RS, Yang DY, Fernandes-Taylor S, Greenberg CC. Age-Dependent Costs and Complications in Pediatric Umbilical Hernia Repair. J Pediatr. 2020 Jul 3:S0022-3476(20)30851-9. doi:10.1016/j.jpeds.2020.07.008. Online ahead of print. PMID:32629008.

Wooldridge AR, Carayon P, Hoonakker P, Hose BZ, Eithun B, Brazelton T 3rd, Ross J, Kohler JE, Kelly MM, Dean SM, Rusy D, Gurses AP. Work system barriers and facilitators in inpatient care transitions of pediatric trauma patients. Appl Ergon. 2020 May;85:103059. doi:10.1016/j.apergo.2020.103059. Epub 2020 Feb 12. PMID:32174347.

Leys CM, Hirschl RB, Kohler JE, Cherney-Stafford L, Marka N, Fallat ME, Gadepalli SK, Fraser JD, Grabowski J, Burns RC, Downard CD, Foley DS, Halleran DR, Helmrath MA, Kabre R, Knezevich MS, Lal DR, Landman MP, Lawrence AE, Mak GZ, Minneci PC, Musili N, Rymeski B, Saito JM, Sato TT, St Peter SD, Warner BW, Ostlie DJ; Midwest Pediatric Surgery Consortium MWPSC. Changing the Paradigm for Management of Pediatric Primary Spontaneous Pneumothorax: A Simple Aspiration Test Predicts Need for Operation. J Pediatr Surg. 2020 Jan;55(1):169-175. doi:10.1016/j.jpedsurg.2019.09.043. Epub 2019 Oct 24. PMID:31706614.

Kohler JE, Nichol PF, Cartmill RS. Need for Consensus Guidelines in Pediatric Umbilical Hernia Repair. JAMA Pediatr. 2019 Sep 30. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2019.3414. Online ahead of print. PMID:31566667.

Riedesel EL, Weber BC, Shore MW, Cartmill RS, Ostlie DJ, Leys CM, Gill KG, Kohler JE. Diagnostic performance of standardized ultrasound protocol for detecting perforation in pediatric appendicitis. Pediatr Radiol. 2019 Dec;49(13):1726-1734. doi:10.1007/s00247-019-04475-5. Epub 2019 Jul 24. PMID:31342129.